Warrants used in Megaupload raid are invalid, says Judge

By Lee Kaelin on June 28, 2012, 11:30 AM

The US Government has been dealt a blow in its ongoing extradition battle to have Kim Dotcom face charges for copyright infringement and racketeering, after search warrants used to raid the Megaupload founder's Auckland mansion were declared invalid by the New Zealand High Court for not sufficiently outlining the crimes he was accused of.

"The warrants did not adequately describe offences to which they related. Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants and as such, are invalid," said Judge Helen Winkelmann, adding that it was very "clear that the police, in executing the warrants, have exceeded what they could lawfully be authorized to do."

Judge Winkelmann said in her 56-page finding that the Police had acted unlawfully by refusing to return back to Dotcom material of no investigative relevance among the estimated 150TB of data seized by NZ Police. She deemed that the FBI's removing copies of some of the data and taking it back to the US for analysis was also unlawful, and asked the US Government to "voluntary return clones removed from New Zealand, along with any copies/clones or data taken thereform."

The warrant used also failed to outline what would happen with the data once seized, and how data of no relevance to the investigation would be handled. Therefore, Judge Winkelmann has ordered that independent lawyers be appointed to oversee the analysis of the haul of data, at the cost of Dotcom's prosecutors.

Both sides have also been ordered to appear at the High Court on July 4, to consider "appropriate remedy or remedies" in line with her findings. Dotcom's lawyers are also due in a Federal Court in Virginia tomorrow to argue the case against former file-sharing service should be thrown out, following his lawyers filing for a notion to dismiss the case due to a lack of jurisdiction at the end of May.

"We are very happy with today's decision. We are digesting and analyzing Justice Winkelmann's judgment and considering our next steps," Dotcom and his co-accused said in a statement following the Court's decision.

The Police declined to comment on the matter.




User Comments: 14

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Guest said:

Good, finally a victory - which will be overshadowed by the approaching doom via obamacare.

...yes, I went there! :P

Guest said:

Good news, I wonder other laws they broke while capturing this "outlaw".

I still have that song stuck in my head. M E G A Upload to me today. Send me a file, Megaupload. MEEEEEEEGAA!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Good news, I wonder other laws they broke while capturing this "outlaw".

Well... think about it.... The police were unlawful because they refused to return the material that wasn't relevant to the case. As if Megaupload kept a separate partition called 'illegal stuff' so the police could only seize exactly the right data. All the police have to do is sort through the 150TB of data.

This is a procedural stunt by the lawyers if ever there was one.

danhodge danhodge said:

He just made the service, he shouldn't go through this, when it was the users that abused the system.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

This is a procedural stunt by the lawyers if ever there was one.

It was a judge in the NZ High Court.

Guest said:

So a Kiwi (New Zealand) Judge knows the law better than a team of US prosecutors , I would say the "Mobs" who initiated this law suit should perhaps remember that outside the US they have less chance on influencing Judges and being sloppy with a simple thing as a warrants uotline is enough to throw a case out on its ears.

Tygerstrike said:

@danhodge

Mr. DotCom has been arrested for far more then simply file sharing. To start there is the embezzelment. A host of other charges have been leveled against him besides that one. And you may be right about the users are the ones who commited the piracy, but the anti piracy laws have been in effect for many many years. He created a service that was specificly designed to allow copyright infringment.

Im 100% certain that DotCom is going to face charges in the US. How he gets there however is a different story. The US is trying to do it legally. BUT if it doesnt go through that way, they will just send a cruzier out, park it offshore and chopper in and snatch him.

scorpionvenom said:

america trying to police the world again lol

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

@danhodge

Mr. DotCom has been arrested for far more then simply file sharing. To start there is the embezzelment. A host of other charges have been leveled against him besides that one. And you may be right about the users are the ones who commited the piracy, but the anti piracy laws have been in effect for many many years. He created a service that was specificly designed to allow copyright infringment.

Im 100% certain that DotCom is going to face charges in the US. How he gets there however is a different story. The US is trying to do it legally. BUT if it doesnt go through that way, they will just send a cruzier out, park it offshore and chopper in and snatch him.

Old new that has nothing to do with this case as he was already convicted.

"In 2001, Dotcom purchased ?375,000 worth of shares of the nearly bankrupt company LetsBuyIt.com and subsequently announced his intention to invest ?50 million in the company. Unknown to others, Dotcom did not have the funds available to invest, although the announcement caused the share value of LetsBuyIt.com to jump by nearly 300%. Dotcom sold his shares a few days later for ?1,568,000.

Dotcom had also arranged and obtained an unsecured loan of ?280,000 from Monkey AG, a company for which Dotcom had served as Chairman of the Board. The funds were to be paid to Kimvestor AG. As a result, both Monkey and Kimvestor went bankrupt. Dotcom expressed remorse, stating that he had been "dazzled" and had not recognized that he would be unable to repay the loans.

In January 2002, Dotcom was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, deported to Germany, and subsequently sentenced to a probationary sentence of one year and eight months, and a ?100,000 fine, the largest insider-trading case in Germany at the time. Dotcom also pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November 2003 and received a two-year probation sentence."

[link]

Mantrhax Mantrhax said:

The correct questions is , "How much money the US government spent on this fiasco ? " and who will cover this ?

TJGeezer said:

"Im 100% certain that DotCom is going to face charges in the US. How he gets there however is a different story. The US is trying to do it legally. BUT if it doesnt go through that way, they will just send a cruzier out, park it offshore and chopper in and snatch him."

Nah. The Pentagon will simply declare war on New Zealand when directed to by the U.S. entertainment industry, acting through its purchased politicians. Where you been? /s

Tygerstrike said:

@TJ

The US wont declare war on NZ, they dont have oil. NZ would want the US favor, so im sure they are bending over backwards to assist the US in the deportation process. 10 to 1 NZ is a consumer of US products, so if the military did chopper in and snatch him, NZ would "tisk" at the US and go on their merry way. You dont piss off Mr. Crack Man and expect to get your crack lol.

Guest said:

bout time this guy got a break. his arrest was unfair considering every other site that hosts pirated material..........COUGH YOUTUBE COUGH. oh yea they werent raided/sued because theyre owned by google oh ya I forgot.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

So there's pretty much no hope for megaupload to come back it seems

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